Coping with More, More, More Mom Stress!

Moms are some of the busiest people in the world, and face it - busy people are often the most stressed. Stress can affect your relationships with co-workers, family and friends as well as your relationship with your children. Stress can cause you to be impatient, irritable, distracted and just plain unhappy. Remember the old saying, "If mamma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Well here are some tips to help you deal with stress so that you and everyone else in your life can be happy again:

  • Ask for help
    When you feel like you just need some help, don't be afraid to ask. If you need someone to watch the kids so that you can do the grocery shopping in half the time, ask. It could be your spouse, a parent, friend, sibling, or even another busy mom you can make a trade with. If the first person you ask says no - ask someone else!
  • Breathe
    Deep abdominal breathing is a perfect stress reliever because it is free, easy and can be done anywhere. Deeply breathe in through the nose while pulling the belly button toward the spine. Hold it for 2-3 seconds and then release the air slowly and evenly. Do this several times throughout the day. It is especially helpful when dealing with a willful toddler or attitudinal teen.
  • Eat Healthy
    Try to eat foods that promote calmness and avoid those that can increase stress levels, such as foods with lots of caffeine or sugar. Make sure you eat enough lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables. Not only will good eating habits improve your health and stress levels, but you will be setting a great example for your kids.
  • Exercise
    It doesn't have to be a big deal, but it does have to be a priority. Exercise makes you feel better, increases your self-esteem and your energy level and helps you concentrate - all of which help you better deal with stress. Here are a few examples of how busy moms can get their exercise without spending time or money at the gym:
    • Park at the back of the lot and walk to your destination
    • Put the treadmill or mini trampoline in front of the TV - and use them during your favorite show or do sit-ups during the commercials.
    • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
    • Use your lunch breaks to take a walk, or do it while waiting for kids at practice
    • Walk the dog or take the kids for a walk around the block
  • Friends
    Sometimes moms just need to have one person that they can talk to who will just listen and won't pass judgment or automatically try to fix things. Find that person and call or visit them when you need a shoulder to cry on.
  • Housework
    Get a maid, even if it's only for spring cleaning. If you can't afford it, do it anyway. For the other times, focus on one room or task. Clean the kitchen one day, the bedroom another and do laundry on a third. Not only will you lessen your daily workload, but you will feel the sense of accomplishment when something is completely finished.
  • Laugh
    We've all been told that laughter is the best medicine, but when it comes to dealing with stress it is especially true. Share a joke with a friend, watch your favorite sitcom or a funny movie. Have your kids tell you a funny story or laugh at your toddler's babbling. Show your sense of humor by laughing at your own mistakes and shortcomings. You might find that they can relieve stress rather than cause it.
  • Make lists
    Organizing your thoughts on paper can help clear your head and make you worry less about what you might forget. There are two very important things to remember when making lists. 1. Only list what is truly important. If you add lots of mundane tasks, your list may seem insurmountable, and cause more stress. 2. Make sure that you add the tasks that are important for your own personal needs.
  • Mental break
    Mark Twain said, "Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." Practice calm thinking whenever you begin to feel stress. Take a mental break and visualize a special place that is peaceful, soothing and calm. Imagine the sights, sounds and smells. Stay focused until you feel relaxed. Once you are done you should notice that the stress is easier to manage.
  • Mom time
    Schedule time for yourself. No really - right now, get out your planner and make two appointments - make a date with your spouse or partner and then make one for time just for you. It doesn't matter what you plan - a bubble bath, time to read your favorite book, watch a movie or get a pedicure. Determine, no matter what, to schedule time for you. Make these appointments as important to keep as a job interview or Health Expert visit. They may require hiring a babysitter, that's okay - so would a job interview. Make sure that at least once a month, these appointments are for something to completely pamper and indulge you in some way.
  • Music
    William Congreve said, "Music hath charms to soothe a savage beast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak." Listen to quiet, relaxing music in the car, at work and in bed, or whenever you are near a radio. Mr. Congreve was not wrong; music really does have a calm, soothing effect on mind and body. It can also provide relief from the sing-along toddler songs, pre-teen popular music or the head-banging noise seeping from your teenager's room.
  • Plan ahead
    Cook several meals and freeze them for those busy days and plan for some meals out when you can. Not only are they a nice break for you, but they will also allow for more family time. Plan your outfits for the week and if you are still dressing your child, plan theirs as well.
  • Get Real
    It is essential that you have realistic priorities and expectations. Enjoy your kids while you have them, they grow up so quickly. Think about what is truly important. Is it a clean house or is it family time?
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